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Video Game / Monster Bash

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Monster Bash is a sidescrolling Platform Game, released by Apogee Software for the PC in 1993. The game stars 10-year-old Johnny Dash (Probably no relation to Johnny Cash) on a quest to rescue his puppy, Tex, from the evil Count Chuck, who plans to turn all the pets of the Day World into monsters. Armed with only a slingshot and an endless supply of rocks, Johnny must travel through 28 levels of undead horrors.

The first episode of the game can be downloaded for free at Apogee's official website. No relation to the pinball machine Monster Bash or any virtual re-creations of it, nor to the coin-op game Monster Bash (1982).

An Updated Re-release developed by Emberheart Games, Monster Bash HD, was published by Apogee Entertainment on October 29, 2021. Monster Bash HD features enhanced visuals, achievements, and a level editor, among other new features.

This work contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Laboratory: Levels 2-8 and 2-9, where the Igor resides, with plenty of machinery, electrical surges and a dungeon-like basement.
  • A.I. Breaker: The evil twin tries to jump around a lot if you crawl—but since he starts right under an overhang to make sure you walk through his puddle, if you immediately crouch and shoot at him rapidly you can knock off most of his health while he's bumping his head. He can also be tricked into jumping over you repeatedly until he dies.
  • All There in the Manual: The plot can be read from the title screen. Episodes 2 and 3 update it with summaries of the previous episodes.
  • All Trolls Are Different: They appear as short but stout hunchback humanoids with green skins and huge heads. They can hit the ground with their flails hard enough to send Johnny flying upwards.
  • Anti-Climax: Count Chuck constantly taunts Johnny throughout the game and dares him to come face him. When Johnny does though, the Count himself puts up no resistance, being asleep and all, and practically lets Johnny defeat him.
  • Asteroids Monster: The green sludge monsters split into smaller blobs after they are first hit. Giant Eyeballs will split into four smaller ones upon death.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Cyclops boss takes more damage when shot in the eye, and Igor can only be hurt by shooting his head.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: The knife-tossing hands. They hide inside the walls just barely visible until Johnny runs within range, at which they poke put and throw a knife. A boss fight in act 2 has you fighting the giant pitchfork-wielding arm of a Big Red Devil.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Levels 1-7, 1-8, 1-9, and 3-5 are all set in an abandoned, infested mansion (in the first episode it's implicitly the house where the Cyclops dwells).
  • Big Fancy Castle: Levels 2-6 and 2-7 have Jhonny entering a large castle, complete with witches, Trolls and more.
  • Blessed with Suck: If a Medusa attacks you just as you die, a glitch will occur that causes you to respawn with no health as a "ghost". You can't touch anything as a ghost, so enemies and obstacles can't hurt you. Unfortunately, you can't pass through the exit either.
  • Boss-Only Level: Levels 1-10, 2-3, and 2-9, where rather than save puppies or find an exit you have to defeat the Cyclops, a demonic arm. Surprisingly, the final level isn't one.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Acknowledged in the plot summary. It's specifically stated by the Bed Monster that Johnny's pocket would never go empty once he put the rock in it.
  • Brain Monster: Some of them are found in the lab levels: they jump around on one leg and fire bullets seemingly made of thoughts.
  • Brats with Slingshots: Johnny is a young boy, and he uses a slingshot as his weapon.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Levels 3-3 and 3-4, featuring a dark swampy forest with pools of deadly water you have to jump over.
  • Camera Abuse: During Johnny's Idle Animation, he fires a rock at the camera, cracking the lens.
  • Captain Ersatz: Count Chuck obviously takes several elements from both Dracula and Count Orlok. Igor is pretty much directly lifted from the title character in The Fly (1958).
  • Checkpoint Starvation: Nightmare difficulty removes all checkpoints, meaning you're sent back to the beginning of the stage if you die once.
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: There are spinning ceiling fans which you have to shoot the motors of in order to stop them from hurting/killing you.
  • Dem Bones: Skeletons are among the more common mooks in the first episode. They make a return toward the end of the final episode.
  • Derelict Graveyard: Levels 1-1 and 1-2, the starting areas, have you trekking across a graveyard, complete with mausoleums.
  • Disney Villain Death: Count Chuck has his talismans destroyed and his feet shot until he loses the grip on his perch and falls to his doom on a bed of spikes.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Despite being just a kid with a slingshot, Johnny Dash breaks his way through hordes of living dead, demons, horrors and a vampire overlord to save his pet.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Defeating the Cyclops in Act 1 results in Chuck summoning two devils to take Johnny to a big cauldron in a Hell-like level, guarded by a giant red devil.
    • Defeating the Igor in Act 2 has Chuck teleporting Johnny to a derelict village in the middle of nowhere, reunited with Tex... who's actually a Werewolf in disguise!
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: On the difficulty selection screen, there is an icon of Johnny flexing his muscles next to each choice, with bigger muscles on harder difficulties. The icon for Easy mode has him Flexing Those Non-Biceps. Ironically, Johnny is actually less durable on higher difficulties.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: The most common mook in the game. They appear in almost every level except for a couple of boss battles.
  • Evil Twin: Johnny's Nemesis, who appears once an episode. It appears from a pool of green sludge and fights exactly like Johnny.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: The first several stages of the second episode. It includes pits of fire, pitchforks and devils as enemies, some of which will serve as obstacles.
  • Floating Continent: Level 3-8 is Chuck's fortress located in the sky.
  • Flying Broomstick: You get to fly a broomstick in one level. There are also moving platforms in the form of broomsticks.
  • Garnishing the Story: In the fourth stage, there is a sleeping dragon who will One-Hit Kill you unless you crawl past it. Just one dragon. In the middle of a horror setting. The second swamp level also features sea serpents.
  • Gimmick Level: Level 3-8 again, the gimmick being that you can fly on a broom.
  • Gorn: It's a toss-up as to whether this or Rise of the Triad has more blood.
  • Green Aesop: The "sawmill" stages have signs on the walls that read, "Down with rainforests!", "No recycling", and "Please litter!"
  • Harder Than Hard: HD introduces Nightmare difficulty, which gives you the same 3 hit life bar as Hard, but also removes all checkpoints from the stage. This can make some levels impossible to complete if you die after a certain point, as you're not meant to have to backtrack through the original stages.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: The main stages could be considered Nintendo Hard, but most, if not all, of the bosses are pretty easy.
  • Hearts Are Health: Large Red Hearts fully restore Johnny's hit points to full if he collects them.
  • Helpful Mook: There are certain areas in the castle stage that can only be reached by getting a boost from the Trolls' Ground Pound attack. More common throughout the game are living boots that kick you across the stage. Sometimes they're meant to knock you into spikes, but other times they'll help you across gaps. And there are also living statues that briefly turn into solid platforms when you "kill" them.
  • Homage: One of the mooks in episode 3 is clearly an homage to the Xenomorph.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: Some enemies, such as the walking cannons, can't be defeated for long and will recover. Others. like the red spiders, snakeheads or the walking gluttonous furballs, can't be hurt at all.
  • Invisibility: Invisible men appear as mooks toward the end of the first episode. You can thankfully see them because they wear boots, gloves and a hat... but no clothes...
  • Laughably Evil: Count Chuck. From the first mention of his name to the final showdown with him, you'll have something to laugh about while you void yourself in terror.
  • The Lost Woods: Levels 1-3 and 3-2, the former coming after the graveyard and before the caverns, the latter standing between the abandoned pumpkin village and the swamp.
  • Marathon Level: Level 1-9. To put things in perspective, most levels have a par time of somewhere between 2-7 minutes, and 1-9 has a par time of 30 minutes, due to the sheer dimensions of the house and the fact that you have to explore it extensively.
  • Mature Work, Child Protagonists: Child main character Johnny Dash's pet dog Tex was kidnapped by the vampire Count Chuck, but the game is themed around horror, gore, necrotic and demon creatures, with levels including bloody pikes, skeletons, cemeteries, and catacombs.
  • Meaningless Lives: There's an extremely simple Cheat Code in the registered version to max out your lives literally any time you want, with no penalty whatsoever.
    • HD completely gets rid of the concept and gives you infinite lives, though you do get a bonus to your score for completing a level in one life.
  • Mirror Boss: Once an Episode, Johnny's "nemesis" appears to challenge him.
  • Monster Mash: Duh. Zombies, ghosts, ghouls, skeletons, invisible men, vampires, gill-men, witches, there are monsters enough for everyone.
  • Nintendo Hard: The first episode, not so much. But the next two... let's just say there's a reason why the registered version lets you gain extra lives whenever you want.
  • Pajama-Clad Hero: Johnny spends the entire adventure in his PJ's.
  • Plot Lock: All the pets must be rescued before moving on to the next level.
  • Pun-Based Title: The pun being on "Monster Mash."
  • Punny Name: The rat who occasionally appears to indicate which way to go and who authors the final level's hint message is named Frank Lloyd Rat.
  • Puzzle Boss: Count Chuck. Rather than just shooting him until he dies as you do with the rest of the bosses, you're supposed to destroy the talismans on his wings, and then aim for his feet.
  • Save the Princess: Subverted near the end of the second episode. The princess is a witch in disguise who tries to kill you when you reach her.
  • Sequel Hook: After his defeat, Count Chuck warns Johnny that while he may have won the battle, he hasn't yet won the war, then states that he has in-laws.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: During Count Chuck's first appearance, he belittles Johnny, his insults becoming more and more crude until one is actually censored.
  • Standard Snippet: This being a monster-themed game, Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor is of course used
  • Super Drowning Skills: A variation. Johnny cannot swim on his own, but he can run and move around underwater. Doing this isn't advised however because if Johnny is submerged in water, he starts losing health until he gets his head above water.
  • Take That!: Johnny mentions living down the street from Jill of the Jungle, and instantly suspects her of the pet kidnappings when he finds out about it.
  • Taken for Granite: There are Medusa-like creatures in the second episode who can temporarily turn Johnny to stone.
  • Underground Level: Levels 1-4, 1-5, 2-5, 3-6, 3-7, and 3-9 (which is somehow accessed from a fortress in the sky).
  • Unique Enemy:
    • The dragon in the fourth stage. There's exactly one for a brief section of a cave level.
    • The witch disguised as a princess is unique-looking and only appears in one castle level.
  • Visual Pun: The Flying Tiger enemies are fighter planes... with tiger stripes and a roaring tiger's head. They even reveal legs when shot to the ground.
  • Xenomorph Xerox: The monsters that show up on level 3-2 are unmistakably (and bafflingly) Xenomorphs. Out of place, being in either a dark forest or in a dilapidated mansion.